Counter in a visual

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I heard that it’s a bad idea to add a counter inside a visual. But can I do it?

Concept

I recently tried to add a counter inside a visual using DAX. It’s a bad idea (super slow!) but I did it and I learned a lot!

Counter can’t be hardcoded in a table as date slicer changes what the viz displays.

Warning!

DON’T DO THIS IN YOUR PRODUCTION VISUALS…this is just for learning.

Files

Visual

Report ‘Counter in a visual’ seen below has:

  • two text boxes (at top)
  • a slicer
  • 3 measures (2 bottom left, 1 bottom right)
  • 1 table viz (5 fields, 1 measure)

Measure Counter2 seen in viz proves that it’s possible to create a viz counter:

Table Sales2

Measure Counter2, seen in viz above, depends on two fields from fact table Sales2:

  • a numerical PK (ID)
  • field One (has hard coded 1)

A fact table may not have a primary key. Field One increases file size but has a single value of 1 (light). Once again, adding a viz counter is not recommended but it was a great DAX challenge!

DAX Counter

I’ve included 4 versions of my counter measure:

  • Counter: my first attempt. Total always shows 1
  • Counter Blank: total is blank
  • Counter2: total shows max counter ID
  • Counter3: total shows max counter ID (like Counter2)

Counter

I got confused playing with this so I added comments to each variable:

  1. var get1stID get the 1st ID value currently in the visual
  2. var getCurrentID get the current row ID value
  3. var final the final calc to create incrementing counter
Counter = 
//GETS 1ST VIZ ID
var get1stID = CALCULATE(MIN('Sales2'[ID]),ALLSELECTED('Sales2'))

//GETS CURRENT ROW ID
var getCurrentID = MIN('Sales2'[ID]) 

var final= CALCULATE([Add One] 
, ALL('Sales2') //CLEARS ALL CONTEXT FROM TABLE EXCEPT [ID]
,'Sales2'[ID]<=getCurrentID //ADD CONTEXT LESS THAN
,'Sales2'[ID]>=get1stID) //ADD CONTEXT GREATER THAN

return
final

var final adds 1s between get1stID and getCurrentID (like a running total). Total row always shows “1”.

Counter Blank

I added HASONEVALUE to identify the total row and leave it blank:

Counter Blank = 
//GETS 1ST VIZ ID
var get1stID = CALCULATE(MIN('Sales2'[ID]),ALLSELECTED('Sales2'))

//GETS CURRENT ROW ID
var getCurrentID = MIN('Sales2'[ID]) 

var calc= CALCULATE([Add One] 
, ALL('Sales2') //CLEARS ALL CONTEXT FROM TABLE EXCEPT [ID]
,'Sales2'[ID]<=getCurrentID //ADD CONTEXT LESS THAN
,'Sales2'[ID]>=get1stID) //ADD CONTEXT GREATER THAN

return
IF(HASONEVALUE(Sales2[ID]),calc, blank())

Counter2

Total sums all of field One within current filter context (slicer date range).

Counter2 = 
var get1stID = CALCULATE(MIN('Sales2'[ID]),ALLSELECTED('Sales2')) //GETS 1ST VIZ ID
var getCurrentID = MIN('Sales2'[ID]) //GETS CURRENT ROW ID

var rowid= CALCULATE([Add One] 
, ALL('Sales2') //CLEARS ALL CONTEXT FROM TABLE
,'Sales2'[ID]<=getCurrentID //ADD CONTEXT LESS THAN
,'Sales2'[ID]>=get1stID) //ADD CONTEXT GREATER THAN

var final= IF(HASONEVALUE(Sales2[ID]),rowid,SUM(Sales2[One]))
return
final

Counter3

In var final I tried to modify CALCULATE to not need an external measure. Hmm… CALCUALTE appears to require an external measure expression [Add One].

Counter3 = 
var sumone = sum(Sales2[One])
var get1stID = CALCULATE(MIN('Sales2'[ID]),ALLSELECTED('Sales2')) //GETS 1ST VIZ ID
var getCurrentID = MIN('Sales2'[ID]) //GETS CURRENT ROW ID

var final= CALCULATE([Add One] 
, ALL('Sales2') //CLEARS ALL CONTEXT FROM TABLE EXCEPT [ID]
,'Sales2'[ID]<=getCurrentID //ADD CONTEXT LESS THAN
,'Sales2'[ID]>=get1stID) //ADD CONTEXT GREATER THAN

return
IF(HASONEVALUE(Sales2[ID]), final, sumone)

Below is external measure [Add One] that is referenced above:

Add One = Sum(Sales2[One])

?ALL or ALLEXCEPT?

I originally used ALLEXCEPT inside the main CALCULATE function. It worked but I later realized I couldn’t explain why. I replaced ALLEXCEPT with ALL.

Inside CALCULATE the ALL function clears the context for field [ID]. The next two lines add back context to field [ID] to create an expanding range.

Performance Analyzer

Bad: my counter measures are incredibly slow and not practical.

Good: it’s an opportunity to use Performance Analyzer.

How to start it

  1. on ribbon select View
  2. below to the right select ‘Performance Analyzer’
  3. select ‘Start Recording’
  4. change a date in the slicer
  5. once finished press ‘Stop’

Results

Not surprising that the table viz is the slowest to calculate (has measure Counter2). 4437 milliseconds.

Click the Table expand button to see more details:

Majority of time spent is on the DAX query. I clicked ‘copy query’ (now ‘Copied’).

Table DAX Query

Here’s the internal code to display the table viz:

// DAX Query
DEFINE
  VAR __DS0FilterTable = 
    FILTER(
      KEEPFILTERS(VALUES('Date'[Date])),
      AND('Date'[Date] >= DATE(2019, 1, 7), 'Date'[Date] < DATE(2019, 1, 13))
    )

  VAR __DS0Core = 
    SUMMARIZECOLUMNS(
      ROLLUPADDISSUBTOTAL(
        ROLLUPGROUP(
          'Sales2'[Est Created],
          'Sales2'[Job Started],
          'Sales2'[Job Ended],
          'Sales2'[Site Visit],
          'Sales2'[ID]
        ), "IsGrandTotalRowTotal"
      ),
      __DS0FilterTable,
      "Counter2", 'Sales2'[Counter2]
    )

  VAR __DS0PrimaryWindowed = 
    TOPN(
      502,
      __DS0Core,
      [IsGrandTotalRowTotal],
      0,
      'Sales2'[ID],
      1,
      'Sales2'[Est Created],
      1,
      'Sales2'[Job Started],
      1,
      'Sales2'[Job Ended],
      1,
      'Sales2'[Site Visit],
      1
    )

EVALUATE
  __DS0PrimaryWindowed

ORDER BY
  [IsGrandTotalRowTotal] DESC,
  'Sales2'[ID],
  'Sales2'[Est Created],
  'Sales2'[Job Started],
  'Sales2'[Job Ended],
  'Sales2'[Site Visit]

Results without Counter2

I removed measure Counter2 from the viz and reran the query.

No surprise that the Table is now much faster.

Support Site

Below my screenshots there’s a link to Support Site. It’s a PBI optimization guide with a ton of valuable information.

Recap

I almost gave up trying to create the visual counter. I was experimenting with so many different measures that it became confusing. Eventually I solved it thanks to my curiosity and stubbornness. DAX challenges are fun.


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